July 4, 2011 - 11:18 pm
Just one more glass of water.
You’ve hauled a tanker full of water to a child you tried to put to bed hours ago. You’ve had several bedtime kisses, three lullabies, and you’ve read two bedtime stories.
Now she wants another drink and, quite frankly, that does sound pretty good. Then it happens: A word flies from your mouth that would make your mother gasp and Grandma reach for the soap.
But who can blame you? Not author Adam Mansbach, and in his new book “Go the F**k to Sleep,” illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, you’ll know you’re not alone.
It’s night, and you’ve kept the room soothing. Your voice and the lights are low.
You’ve put your sweet little one down for the night. There’s just one place you want her to go.
But she repeatedly asks for more water. She shrieks until you think you’ll go deaf. Then she pops right back up like a bad Whack-a-Mole.
You bribe her with one more stuffed lovey, you rub her and pat on her back. You threaten, cajole, but she’s merely a tot and you just want her to hit the sack.
You’ve read storybooks until your eyes swim, and you’ve given one more bedtime kiss. But that child of yours won’t lie down and sleep, and you’re awfully dang tired of this.
Her reluctance to sleep is disturbing. You can see why the wild eat their young. Frustration is mounting. You’re losing it now. Then a big word escapes off your tongue …
You’re feeling so bad, like an ogre, and then you find her no longer awake! Could it be? Is she down? Has she just gone to sleep? Yes, but careful of noise that you make…
OK, so I’m no Emily Dickinson, but then again, this book is no “Goodnight, Moon,” either.
“Go the F**k to Sleep” certainly looks like a children’s book with lush illustrations. The soft cadence of the poem brings to mind the most beloved of bedtime storybooks. But look again, check your eyes, and you’ll see why you want to keep this book on the highest shelf in your home. Yep, it’s really about as far from a children’s book as any book can be.
“Go the F**k to Sleep” is shocking. It takes a second to get used to seeing “the F-word” in print like this, and another second to catch Mansbach’s sense of humor. Mansbach, a father himself, had the guts to say what many parents want to say, no matter how much they love their toddlers. Mansbach knowingly put to paper the frustration that comes from trying to put a child down for the night, accompanied by words that sometimes escape us — literally.
Definitely, this is not a book for everyone. Over and over, there’s a word in here that some will find offensive. But if you have a wicked sense of humor or a small child in the house, “Go the F**k to Sleep” is freakin’ hilarious.
Terri Schlichenmeyer’s children’s book reviews appear weekly in View.